Sunday, November 14, 2010

Do You Remember That Time?...

Richmond Marathon Recap - 11-13-2010

To start the day.  I got up after a really good night's sleep.  Dressed, got my pre-race pic by H (imma little bada**), and snagged a ride with Ocean, DeNiece & 3L.  I was calm.  I was focused.  I was Centered.  Spent my last last few minutes reviewing my plan, my strategy, and gathering what mental strength I could... and tried like heck to push that mental strength onto DeNiece as much as possible.  
Two things I remember saying to myself.  There is no such thing as the wall.  I will not call Parcheesi.
DeNiece and I split from Ocean & 3L (who kicked the Half Marathon’s butt to the tune of 1:53 and 1:47 respectively), and went to meet the Snot Team at the bank.  Q gave us some words of strength - but the most memorable for me were, “Try NOT TO SUCK.” and “YOU TRAINED FOR 24 WEEKS TO GET TO TODAY, DON’T. SCREW. IT. UP. NOW.”
Here’s the deal.  When you train with the Sports Backers MTT, the coaches all spread out along the course (getting rides from point to point) so that at every mile you will be spotted by a coach.  It won’t always be YOUR coach, but there will be a coach for you at almost every mile.  The deal is, if you look good and happy, they leave you alone.  If you don’t... they step out and run with you for a few minutes.  Good deal.  I’ll take it.
The MTT Snot coaches were split into groups to pace people out at the start, and Karasmatic was running between a 9:30 -9:45 pace.  So I told her I would like to go out with her... Q hears me say it and asks, “Did she ask you out?”  Um.  Actually YES she did!  Smartest thing I did between miles 1-5 was to go out with Karasmatic & DeNiece.  Wow that was SO FUN!  Love that girl.  Her energy and spunk were AWESOME.  We did... um, OK with the pacing.  
Q stopped in at mile almost 5 with us and reminded us to relax our shoulders.  So I decided that every time I saw a coach I would try to replay that advice.  Can you say, best thing I did early in the race?  DeNiece and I separated around 1 hour into the race, because I knew she wanted to run faster than I wanted to run.
... ok, so about 1 hour and 3 minutes into the race, I was having a little trouble finding my rhythm, so I sped up down the hill and reconnected with DeNiece.  I knew that I was better off with someone I knew.  I took at AccelGel at mile 6ish.  Saw my family at mile 7ish and threw H my sock sleeves!  Those things have been with me for more than a year now, I’m SO happy I didn’t have to throw them away.
Once we crossed the H bridge, DeNiece & I did separate.  I fell into a really comfortable pace and I looked at my watch and it said, Mile 8.  And then I heard my watch BEEP and I thought - oh no, my watch is freaking out... only, what it said was MILE 9 9:13.  AND then, like 3 seconds later, it BEEPd again... and it said the mile 10 9:15.  “LOOKING GOOD GREEN PLAID SKIRT!”  Smiled and waved like CRAZY at the person.  And mile 11 actually didn’t exist for me, because the next BEEP I saw was mile 12, so I took a GU.  Somewhere around mile 12 I saw the PINK NATION head coach Blair!  He’s great and gave me a HUGE shout out!
So, to recap - things were going great.  I was running along Forest Hill and Semmes, and saw coach after coach after coach from Sportsbackers MTT, and every one of them said, “HEY!  Way to go!  Looking Strong” or some other encouraging words.  I saw H at the Party Zone, and waived to the kids.
I crossed the HALF mat at... what?  2:04:27... OH MY WORD!  It’s a HALF MARATHON PR!?  Heckfireandshoot - I need to find a Half Marathon to run this winter.  Around here I heard a familiar voice yell - “HEY!  It’s the Green Plaid SOCK Girl!”  And I said, “HEY DON!” to the head coach of MTT.  It made me smile, and that was priceless.
The next miles melted away, I plowed through them all while shouting at spectators and pointing to cheer leaders and thanking cops left and right, and remember looking up and thinking, “but... that’s the turn for the Lee Bridge.  How did I get here?”  
So, I took the turn and my eyes got a little big.  With the bridge spanning out before me as a mile long expanse of beige concrete, I knew I had once again arrived at the dreaded Lee Bridge.  BUT, I was feeling GOOD.  Really GOOD.  And I thought, the bridge is so demoralizing, I’m just going to fall in behind any large man and run his pace.... no matter WHAT it is.  I believe my exact words were, “I don’t have time for this..  I’m going to make this bridge my b*tch.”
And while I was SHOPPING for a man to SHAMELESSLY USE on the Lee Bridge, I spied DEE & Marine Corp M!!!  YEAH!  I got some smiles, cheers and knuckle bumps and continued on my way.  It. Was. Awesome.  Frankly, looking back on it, I probably took the bridge too hard and would have been better off conserving a bit of energy for Main St, but...  WOW, It was actually FUN to scream across that bridge in the wake of a strong runner.
I grabbed 2 pretzels at the Junk Food Stop coming off the bridge and thanked the girls for volunteering.
So, remember my new bestie, Bart?  Well, as I came off the bridge and started making my way into the city, I saw him!  I pointed with both hands and yelled at the top of my lungs, “IT’S MY NEW BEST FRIEND, BART!!!”  
And he yelled, “LOOKING GOOD!  YEAH!  AND BY THE WAY, NICE SOCKS!  I’M GOING TO NEED TO GET ME A PAIR OF THOSE!”  If it wasn’t for MTT, I would have never become best friends with Bart Yasso at the Richmond Marathon.  I’m just sayin’.
More coaches, more words of encouragement, I was HIGH on my Lee Bridge Victory... and then... 
I turned the corner into no-mans land.  Um.  Hello, when did Main St suck so much at the Richmond Marathon?  Ok, I’m feeling tired.  I think I’ll slow down and give myself a little break... oh, that doesn’t feel so good.  I think I’ll pick it up for 30 seconds and THEN slow down and see what that feels like.  This trick worked GREAT for me.  I took some time to chill out, the UBER goal was still in play, the Back Up Goal was a near Lock.  The SUN was BEATING DOWN by now and in the back of my mind I knew had to keep on pace because I KNEW if I fell back, it was only going to get HOTTER.
So, then, because it was mile 18- I took another Gel.  
And my stomach ROLLED over.  And I thought, this could be bad.  
Around now I also noticed I felt really grainy... and took a salt pill.  Probably one of my smarter back half decisions.  BY the way, did you know that salt is a really good exfoliator?  Uh.  Yea.
I caught up to Coach Karen, and for the fist time in the race I was too unenthusiastic to be “passed” up by one of the coaches.  She hopped right out and joined me.  We only ran together for a minute, but she stressed the key point that I was SALTY.  VERY salty and needed some liquids.  So we discussed my strategy, I told her I was feeling a little sick, and then I got some surprising news...  DeNiece is right there.  WHAT???!!!  She pointed and just ahead I saw the fleur skirt.  I sent her off to run with someone else and sent myself off to catch DeNiece. 

At Mile 19 I saw H, Jen and the kids.  They were cheering, and had a HUGE sign up fo me-  it was great.  I was SO happy to see them.  H jumped in, offered me a banana.  I should have taken the banana, but I was feeling really bad and I didn’t.  Memo to me.  Next time eat the damn banana so you have something in your stomach to actually throw up and can just get on with feeling better already.
I found Coach El at the Diamond.  She was great.  She tried to convince me to stick my finger down my throat and throw up.  I declined.  She promised it would make me feel better.  I declined.  More on THAT topic later.  We ran past another MTT yellow shirt and  El slowed to his pace and I was off and running again to catch DeNiece, who, made it really easy by stopping to stretch.
DeNiece and I ran together for about a mile... and then, we picked up COACH KARASMATIC!  Now, mentally I was feeling great.  I knew I could do this.  I still had some sense of humor.  I wasn’t in nearly as much pain as I’d been in the year before.  But, my stomach was kind of pissing me off.  She made me drink a bunch of water and PowerAid, and really, that was a smart thing.  It did make my stomach roll a bit more, but frankly, at this point I was already pretty sick feeling, and it got me some sugar and water.  I can’t wait for the pictures though... ha ha... because I suspect I look as GREEN as Karasmatic’s HAIR!
We hung together, I was sucking, and then I looked down the street and saw... pink socks.  long sleeves.  and argyle.  OH.  YES.  And I said to Kara - It’s T!!!  It’s T!!!  
So.  skip this next paragraph if you’re sensitive to the bodily fluid talk.  OK?
After I picked up T, I did “pull over to the side” and stick my finger down my throat.  All it caused me to do was painfully dry heave.  All that pain and upset in my stomach was for naught.  There was NOTHING there.  But, I wasn’t aware of that enough in the moment to recognize it.  Now I’m a little pissed that I didn’t realize it and just suck it up a little more.
Suddenly, on Brook Road, I heard my name.  Ocean and 3L were on the course!  And they ran beside me for a mile?  I have no idea. I could feel them there, I could hear them there.  I just couldn’t acknowledge them in the moment.  I’m Sorry ladies that I was SO FAR GONE!  I am so blessed to have SUCH GREAT friends.
Around 23 we also saw Q.  He picked up the 3 runners ahead of us, and as he did, he looked back to scan the yellow shirts and we made eye contact.  He nodded to me.  And I smiled to myself as I thought of EXACTLY what I would say when he asked me how I was feeling.  I mean here I am.  I’m at frickin mile 23 1/2 of a marathon.  I’m crushing my PR.  I’m running with my POSSE.  I have stopped to (unsuccessfully) vomit on the side of the course.  Yup.  I knew what 2 words I would say.
At mile 24 Q dropped the other group, and I was rewarded for my patience.
“How you doing?”
“Galactically BadA**”.  
We all smiled (well, I think I smiled, honestly, my memory is a tad foggy).  I know HE smiled.  He says, “Is T pacing you in?”  “Yup”.
Yea, OK, maybe my memory of the moment is a little foggier than I’d LIKE to admit.  I know he spoke to me, I know he called me Doll, but if my life depended on telling you all what he said, well... ANYWAY, moving on to the BEST LINE OF THE DAY.
I was suffering.  Stopping to dry heave while protesting, “I’m not calling Parcheesi, I’m stopping to heave” and T says, “you can puke while you run”.  Um.  OK.
T was “pulling” me along by running 1 step ahead of me.  We’re on Grace, in the last mile + of the race and suddenly out of the blue T says, “Remember that time when you were about to crush your Marathon PR and all you had to do was climb up that little hill there and turn two corners to get to the down hill finish?”
It COMPLETELY made my day.  But I was still sucking... until she followed it with:
“You did not train for 24 weeks to NOT bring it for the last mile on Race Day.”  And so, I brought it.  I did, I just dug deep and sucked it up.  I was running hard, I turned the corner, and T says, "I have to leave you here..." but here’s the thing.  She didn’t leave me.  In my peripheral vision I could see T pacing me down the steep hill.  I was in the chute, she was outside the chute, but we were together.  It was such a great moment.  That pink blur was my strength and I focused everything I had on running through the finish.  I think *emphasis on think* that my arms were up in the air as I punched my way across the finish.  The CLOCK said 4:21:something.  
As I stepped over the second mat BART YASSO caught me in a hug, looked in my eyes with a HUGE smile on his face and said, “Thank you!”
Bart Yasso is such a stellar guy.  Why was he thanking me?  Oh right, probably because I’m his new best friend....
SO, here’s where things start to get a little fuzzy.  I got my picture.  Walked around for a minute with T.  Went to get food, walked from the sunshine into the shady tent, and then, T’s hands were on my arms and I realized, oh hey, I’m not actually fully conscious am I?
We “walked” to my car, I got to experience the dry heaving again - that was AWESOME.  And I came home to an icebath and cup of hot tea and oatmeal.
Today, I woke up sore, but not toast.  I’ve been more sore after a race.  Hell I’ve been more sore after a 5K.  I worry that the lack of soreness says that I ran a little conservatively (read that - mentally lazy from mile 17 - 20).  I know that the stopping to dry heave added 3 - 4 minutes to my time.  Not a big deal, it’s just something that happened.  I’ll fuel better next time.
I also hit the pool today for an easy recovery swim.  And... tomorrow, I’m hitting the pavement for an easy 3 miler.  Oh yeah.

Richmond Marathon 4:18:02, a 37:40 PR.  Galactically. BadA**.



best post ever. you were dead on with what Q said. and you forgot to mention the part where you were so out of it that you forgot to pick up your checked bag. just saying.

April said...

Awesome race report! You rocked it, dry heaves and all! Congrats on a stellar PR!

abbi said...

Awesome job...congrats!

Pam said...

This is absolutely insane! 37:40 PR?! That's dang near a minute and a half per mile!

I'm sorry you had the stomach issues, but you handled it like a pro.


You need that on a shirt.

(Just) Trying is for Little Girls said...

This may be the best race report I've ever read. Congratulations! This is why I run.

Rene' said...

Love it, love it, love it!!! I am cying because I know the feeling of a support group of friends, running friends and besties in general.
you rock!!! and your race rocked. from reading the richmond web site they said that it was the friendliest marathon in the county...i might have to put that one on my list!

Laurie said...

So awesome! Great report, way to go!

Jodi H said...

Great job! Fantastic race report! Way to go!

Jen said...

You ARE awesome! I love your race report..... so awesome you have such cool friends and a hug from Bart... wow!

Jamie said...

Stellar! Congrats on a fantastic race and huge PR! Great report too!

Dave Warfel said...

"Galactically Badass" might just be my new favorite phrase.

Permission to borrow it for an appropriate time during a race of my own? haha.

Earth Momma Mer said...

G, by far the best race report! I will probably read it 5 more times just to live vicariously through you, dry heaves and all! Thank you for sharing every detail. You freakin' rock. Once again, congrats.

P said...

Such a great race (and race report)! You are a ROCK STAR!!

Anne said...

This race report is THE BEST!!! I was smiling my face off while reading. What a wonderful experience! Awesome PR too :) :)

Richmond Smacky said...

I love it when hard work and a smart race strategy gets rewarded, but I love it even more when the reward is a 37 minute PR for a Galactic Bada**!

Mel -Tall Mom on the Run said...

Love it!! I think that T is pretty tough on you... Just saying :) But I am glad you made it with such an amazing result. UGH to dry heaving..

SO PROUD!! and what a super new BFF..

momof3 said...

@ T - oh yea... I kind of forgot about that. AGAIN.
@ Mel - T was savvy enough & knows me well enough to know what she needed to say. And honestly, I know that I owe at least 2 minutes of that 37:40 PR to TMB, and yea, I pretty much KNOW how lucky I am.

Scarlett Mother said...

Congrats,g.! This race report is so awesome. Even with my booted out ankle it makes me want to run. For now, I am stuck on a stationary bike and a rower. But it is inspirational and so are you!

Lady Em said...

Congrats! Great race report! You looked great in Bellevue! You even had a smile on! Way to go!

shellyrm aka jogging stroller mama said...

Wonderful report! You really made your race real. It was like being there with you.

I can only imagine how great it is to have a friend help "pull" you along those tough miles. So glad T decided to do the 8k, I think everyone had a better experince because you all go to share some of it! I though about you all being so hoo, I wish I had been there!

Congratulations on a Giant PR!! Amazing!

misszippy said...

Fantastic! You rock. I was jealous of all you yellow shirt people out there with your awesome support crew. That is really great. And I have to say that after the bridge has been my toughest part of that course, two years in a row.

Sarah Bowen Shea said...

AWESOME job kickin' (bad)a** at Richmond!!
Sarah from We'd love to profile you on our site this week, but I can't figure out how to email you. Pls shoot me an email at runmother at gmail dot com. Thanks!

MCM Mama said...

You are my new hero! You are amazing! Congrats on that PR!

Chele said...

congrats. felt like i was right there with you.

racing dawn said...

so awesome. congratulations on a galactically amazing new PR!!! whew hew!

Kirsten said...

I really enjoyed reading about your marathon. I liked the play by play of the run. Not sure I could ever handle it after reading that...but you rocked it and looked great crossing the finish line!

Julie D. said...

Love it! Congrats! loved your report. Loved what T said to you at the end, and Bart?! ---gotta love him! :) THIS is why we run marathons!! Congrats again.